been a crazy couple of weeks. most important i was part of team of 18 students and adults who headed off to AL to help with Paul Turner’s Rebuild Alabama Paul is on staff at Pleasant Grove Assembly in Pleasant Grove. Rebuild Alabama is his effort to coordinate teams of student ministries who are willing to engage and help rebuild the tornado ravaged area.
I’m not sure any of us were really ready for the destruction we saw. its been 7 weeks since those EF4 monsters ripped through this area on the north westside of Birmingham. Our host at Pleasant Ridge Baptist, Fred kept saying it was like a “war zone”. having never been exposed to a “war zone” none of us knew what to expect.
one story that captured our memory was that of Ronnie. Ronnie lives in Adjer, AL and his area was equally hard hit. He lost his home and is currently living in garden shed from Home Depot. I took the team of guy students on our second afternoon to see if we could pull down some precariously perched tree limbs. Ronnie insisted on giving us a tour of what was left of his home. watch the video and you’ll see what we encountered. (more after the jump)
The high winds and storm freaked all of us out. And unfortunately we weren’t able to do any work for Ronnie on this trip. We did stop by on our way out to pray with him and offer him some encouragement. We were humbled by his disappointment, not in our inability of doing work, but in what he said was “not getting to know us better.” I was glad we returned after the storm passed and we were able to help him re-secure a canopy over his current shelter. He shared that the reason he wanted us to see his home wasn’t so much to see the destruction as to see the wall outside his mother’s bedroom. Like many homes, that wall was filled with photos and family heirlooms.
the only thing left on the wall, that didn’t fall off was the cross. He shared with me that several folks have tried to take it down, but he just won’t let them. what’s interesting too, is that a group from Indiana showed up several days after the tornado. During that visit, Ronnie made a profession of faith. He was humbled by God having saved his and his mother’s lives and for the kindness of complete strangers to show him Christ’s love. He’s story has been contagiously shared by the team. attitude is everything.